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Screen/Society -- "Here" (Bas Devos, 2023)

HERE (Bas Devos, 2023, 82 min, Belgium, Dutch, French, Romanian, and Mandarin with English subtitles, DCP) -- Winner of the Best Film prize in the Berlin International Film Festival's Encounters competition. Stefan, a migrant construction worker living in Brussels, is planning a trip home to his mother in Romania. In preparing for his voyage, he reconnects with local family members over gifted bowls of homemade soup, interacts with strangers, and discovers a revivifying commune with nature. This all leads him to an unexpected connection with Shuxiu, a Chinese-Belgian bryologist, who's studying the local moss. The gradual cultivation of this friendship-beautifully performed by actors Stefan Gota and Liyo Gong-motivates this hushed, emotionally resonant film about the power of observation, of people often deemed socially invisible, and of the larger green world surrounding us. In his lovely and tranquil fourth feature, Belgian filmmaker Bas Devos (Ghost Tropic) has created a work that finds transcendence in the simplest human encounters and the most radiant of cinematic gestures. "Every moment signifies in this lovely, unexpected movie." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times "A movie of quiet magnificence, one that feels spun of gossamer summer light and rooted in unshakeable depths...[A] profound yet miraculously weightless feature." -Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter "Remarkable...A quietly overwhelming study of human connection and our relationship with the natural world." -Tim Grierson, Screen Daily "It might be the most benevolent film of this year... a film flush with everyday pleasures... an almost-perfect little film." -Rory O'Connor, The Film Stage